In Depth Guide to Services:
Sport injuries don't necessarily occur exclusively in sport, but
can result from any physical activity. They can impact many
different areas on the body and a combination of different tissues,
including muscles, tendons, bones or ligaments. The injuries
sustained can include ankle sprains, tennis & golfers elbow,
knee ligament/cartilage damage, groin strain, Achilles tendonitis,
shin splints, labral tears and more.
Usually, sports injuries are a result of severe trauma. However,
they can also be caused by inadequate training practices, faulty
equipment, poor posture and not warming up or stretching
adequately. You can also be predisposed to injury because of poor
flexibility, or muscular weakness and fatigue.
Mechanical compensation can also cause sport injury. A good
example is a cyclist who is predisposed to a back injury because
they have poor hip flexion or weak buttock muscles. This lack of
mobility will lead to altered force transference through the
tissues of the body, resulting in the greatest amount of pressure
occurring in the lower back and placing inordinate strain on that
area. By the same token, runners typically get Achilles tendon
injuries because their calf muscles are too tight, or foot
mechanics are poor.
Most sports injuries manifest themselves in limited movements
and sharp pain in the affected area, although some might not be as
apparent as others, or may only surface during sport and exercise
(a mechanical compensation, for example).
Very often, patients experience long-standing niggles that they
do nothing about. These issues go on to become something more
significant and patients find they can no longer enjoy sport or a
favourite exercise class. It's far better to catch these problems
early, before they become more serious. But whenever you seek
treatment, osteopathy can make a significant difference. As our
patients have discovered, it not only reduces the pain of injuries,
but improves performance and prevents further problems arising.
Lower back pain
Lower back pain is normally felt between the top of the buttocks
and the lower rib cage and ranges from a mild dull ache to shooting
or stabbing pain. It may be a result of a number of conditions,
underlying issues (stomach or gynaecological problems, for example)
and illnesses, but is usually due to musculoskeletal or
'mechanical' strain to the joints, muscles or nerves. Patients
suffering from mechanical lower back pain will normally feel pain
on movement and stiffness and restriction in movement, symptoms
exacerbated by sitting for long periods or driving.
The treatment required depends on the cause of the lower back
pain but, if it's due to mechanical strain, osteopathy can make a
huge difference. Get in touch and we will assess whether we can
make help with a course of treatment.
Neck pain can radiate from the neck into the shoulders, arms or
towards the shoulder blades. The discomfort can include a range of
sensations - a dull ache, agonising shooting pains, tingling in the
shoulders, arms and hands, as well as headaches, dizziness and
nausea. Pain is often worse when turning or bending the neck, and
sitting for long periods can also aggravate symptoms.
Neck pain is usually caused by posture-related muscular strain
or inflammation of the small joints in your neck. However it can
also be brought on by a number of other conditions such as damage
to the discs, trapped nerves, 'wear and tear' that occurs in the
joints of the neck (a type of arthritis called cervical
spondylosis), and whiplash-type injuries that can be triggered by a
sudden movement of the neck.
It's always important to seek a professional assessment of your
pain, particularly if it's worsening or persistent. If your neck
pain turns out to be musculoskeletal (the most common cause), it
can be treated effectively with osteopathy.
There are many types of shoulder pain. These include impingement
or full/partial tears of the rotator cuff tendon, tendonitis,
bursitis, and frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). The most
common we see are rotator cuff disorders. The rotator cuff is the
group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint,
keeping it in the correct position and allowing it to move in a
Shoulder pain tends to be worse at night, during activities that
involve your arm being above shoulder level - for example, when
brushing your hair - or when you move your arm in an arc away from
We also see repetitive strain injuries (RSI), which manifest
themselves in pain, aches or tenderness in the shoulders that you
notice when carrying out a particular repetitive action. Pain
usually occurs on the front and side of your shoulder and may refer
down towards the elbow. Without treatment, the symptoms of RSI may
eventually become constant and cause longer periods of pain. You
may also get swelling in the affected area, which can last for
An accurate diagnosis for shoulder pain is important, so you
should book an assessment if the discomfort persists or worsens. If
it's appropriate, we can refer patients directly for MRI or
Sciatica is a description, rather than an actual diagnosis, and
usually refers to pain radiating from the sciatic nerve, which runs
from the lower back into the buttock, down the back of the leg and
sometimes further. It is caused by the pinching or irritating of
the sciatic nerve, most commonly from a herniated or 'slipped'
disc, but also as a result of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the
passage where the spinal cord travels down the spine, and
spondylolisthesis, which occurs when a vertebra slips forward and
compresses the sciatic nerve. Sometimes the sciatic nerve can
simply be reacting to inflammation in that area.
The symptoms can include any or all of the following: back pain
on one side, pain in the buttock and the back of the leg, pain in
the lower leg and into the foot, and tingling or numbness in the
lower leg. There can sometimes be a burning pain in the lower leg
and foot. Pain is often made worse by sitting or standing still for
long periods of time. Usually leg or buttock pain is worse than the
back and sometimes there can even be no back pain at all.
Assessing the cause is the first priority but, in most cases,
your sciatic pain can be managed and improved with osteopathy,
possibly complemented by lifestyle modifications.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSI)
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to
describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons which is
caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The term also covers a
work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb
The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as
the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, neck and shoulders.
RSI pain can be anything from mild to severe and symptoms tend
to develop gradually, rather than overnight. People complain of
aching, throbbing or tenderness, as well as a tingling, numbing or
At first, you might only notice symptoms when you're carrying
out a particular repetitive action. But without treatment, the
symptoms of RSI may eventually become constant and cause longer
periods of pain. You may also get swelling in the affected area,
which can last for several months. If symptoms persist, book an
initial assessment with us.
Headaches & Migraines
The World Health Organisation recently reported that 4 per cent
of adults have headache-related disorders with an estimated 190
million days lost from work in the EU alone because of
Migraine leaves 90 per cent of sufferers unable to perform even
the most simple of tasks, disrupting work and family life. It's
also an emotional burden. Unless you've had one yourself, you can
never understand what it's like to experience a headache on this
scale. Problems in the neck can often exacerbate these debilitating
The neck is key to other common headaches. Cervicogenic
headaches (when pain specifically originates from the neck) often
result from years of poor posture or postural strain from sitting
at a desk. These headaches tend to present initially as pain around
the 'suboccipital region', which is around the top of the neck and
base of the skull. From here the headaches can be on one or both
sides of the head, and commonly travel up towards the eyes, over
the top or sides of the head. The headaches often appear on a daily
basis, getting worse through the day or with sudden neck
If you're living with chronic headaches, get in touch and we can
assess whether osteopathy is a viable treatment.
Sports massage is primarily associated with injury prevention
and recovery as a means of optimising performance. But it's not
just a treatment for athletes. It's also useful when tackling other
problems, including back pain and postural issues - increasingly
common complaints among those of us who sit for long periods of
time at a desk.
With sports massage, the pressure we apply is generally deeper
and combines stretching on specific muscles and surrounding areas.
Our sports massage therapists have gone through extensive training
in anatomy and physiology and understand the physical demands of
competitive sports. They will assess the state of your muscles and
design treatment plans to help prevent injury and aid performance
and recovery. Alongside more advanced massage techniques, they may
also give advice to improve your flexibility, boost performance and
If your issue is not sports-related but due to a sedentary
occupation, we can help tackle those postural imbalances that often
lead to muscular strains - stretching short, tight muscles and
advising you how to strengthen weak areas.
Medical Dry Needling
Medical acupuncture, which is usually offered as part of an
osteopathy treatment plan, is an adaptation of Chinese traditional
practices, backed up by the principles of evidence-based
Medical acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles
through the skin and briefly left in position. Two or three
needless are inserted at a time and manual stimulation is applied
to assist the process. Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin
and muscle. Evidence has shown that it increases the body's release
of endorphin and serotonin (our natural painkillers) in the pain
pathways of the spinal cord and the brain. This changes the way
pain signals are received and, as a result, the level to which pain
is experienced. The National Institute for Health and Care
Excellence (NICE) specifically recommends acupuncture for lower
It's hardly surprising that a small problem in your foot can
lead to a large amount of discomfort. When walking, over twice your
body weight goes through your foot and this happens up to 10,000
times a day (even more when running and jumping). And what begins
as foot pain can all too easily lead to issues elsewhere in the
The foot's primary function is to absorb impact with the ground,
and then to mould to the ground to give you a stable foothold. As
this happens, the arch of your foot flattens and your leg rotates
inwards. Altered foot mechanics such as fallen arches or rigid big
toe (hallux rigidus) can have different impacts on the body. So,
for example, if you have flat feet, too much rotation can occur.
This results in you adopting a 'knock-kneed' posture. Your legs
rotate inwards, your pelvis tips forward and your back over-arches.
This could cause foot, calf, knee, hip and lower back pain.
Symptoms may even be felt in your upper back or neck.
Initial treatment will include manual therapy, but if your body
needs more help, we also tackle foot issues with orthotic devices -
shoe inserts that are very effective in providing support to the
arch and rebalancing the foot. This helps the foot work more
efficiently and takes the strain off the rest of the body. We offer
both 'off-the-peg' and custom-fitted orthotics, including devices
specifically designed for sports shoes or high heels.
If you'd like to know more about orthotics and how they can
alleviate foot-related pain and discomfort, book a consultation
with our osteopath Paul Costin.
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The pillows, which come in five different sizes, ensure correct
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